Singer-songwriter Stephanie Renberg is a keen observer of life. Whether she’s walking around the city, following the news, or reflecting upon her own experiences, she is constantly finding inspiration from the world around her—even if she can’t actually see it.
Currently based in Washington, D.C., Renberg spent three years of her childhood in Ankara, Turkey, where she attended an international school and immersed herself in musical theater. It was there that she made her stage debut at eight years old and, from then on, music and performing were a constant in her life. But Renberg, who is legally blind, found that pursuing her passions required even more determination and ingenuity as her vision deteriorated over time. “When I went to auditions, they were generally cold-readings,” she recalls, of her teenage years. “I couldn’t read scripts anymore, so my solution was to ask to go last and memorize the script by just hearing everyone else say the lines that I couldn’t read myself.”
Inspired by the powerful voices of Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, Renberg has since focused firmly on music—and has benefitted from the therapeutic effects of the craft. “I’ve been doing this for so long that I’m conditioned to sing or write as a way to work through my feelings,” shares the artist, who often just writes songs for herself with no intention of releasing them. “I feel as though I’ve worked through my emotions once they’re out of my system and on paper,” she explains.
Since graduating from Virginia Tech, Renberg has had the opportunity to take her career to the next level by collaborating with producer and songwriter Alex Houton of AHM Media, a 30-year veteran of the music industry, whose credits include work for Disney, Bravo, and ESPN, as well as for artists like Jennifer Lopez and Panic! At The Disco. Most recently, Renberg traveled to New York to record two irresistible electro-pop tracks with Houton—“Hourglass” and “Stop, Drop, Reset,” both set for release this year.
On the sentimental “Hourglass,” Renberg used the title as a double-entendre. “I have a bit of a fascination with time,” she shares. But an hourglass also symbolizes the female figure—the protagonist in the song. “Hourglass” is about “living each day to the fullest,” says the songwriter. “If you’re lucky, there will be someone there with you that will savor and revel in every grain of sand that falls through the timepiece.”
Dancefloor anthem “Stop, Drop, Reset” is based on a past relationship of Renberg’s. “The song represents the feeling one gets when everything is about to explode right before an argument,” she illustrates. “You wish you could just press pause and start over.” Houton and Renberg recreated that urgent, frenzied feeling in the song’s driving, electronic beats, and dramatic vocal lines.
Looking ahead, Renberg hopes that she can offer a voice to other young people who are visually impaired. “The world doesn’t know enough about disabilities, and people tend to get very uncomfortable with the topic,” she says. “My dream is to change that by putting people at ease through music.”
In the meantime, as she navigates her own life and career, Renberg focuses on staying true to herself and relying on her craft whenever she faces challenges. “In the end, singing and writing are always an uplifting experience, and the bottom line is that music has been, and will always be, there for me.” That infectious positivity and creative passion not only keeps Renberg grounded but radiates throughout her work—leaving no doubt that the future for this rising young talent is bright.
Stephanie Renberg’s tracks